Long Melford strike late to deny Saffron Walden victory on ground-hopper weekend

PUBLISHED: 15:25 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:25 02 November 2016

Craig Calver looks for a pass against Long Melford. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Craig Calver looks for a pass against Long Melford. Picture: Jamie Pluck

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Shaun Avis and Matt Snelling both found the net as Saffron Walden Town were held to a 2-2 Thurlow Nunn Premier Division draw by Long Melford at Catons Lane on Friday night.

It was ground-hopper night, which is part of a two-day event held by the Thurlow Nunn League, attracting non-league football fans from around the county. The attendance on the night was a rousing 237.

The Bloods started strong and attacked the Melford defence from the kick-off.

Marc Abbot almost gave Walden an early lead but his vicious strike was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Melford keeper Fred Howe.

Several minutes later, Howe then thwarted Craig Calver, saving the midfielder’s long-range effort.

Just as it looked like Walden were about to score, the Melford winger broke up the wing and delivered a perfect cross which floated over Town’s defence and was headed into the net by Hassion Aly.

Walden replied with Graeme Turner squaring the ball to Snelling but his shot flew wide.

An injury forced Turner off soon after but the hosts battled on and got their reward.

Avis got the better of the Melford defender at a Dan Grindrod corner and steered the ball into the net.

With seconds remaining of the first half, substitute Richard Chadwick controlled a long ball and tried to lob the keeper from a tight angle but Howe dealt with it well.

The Bloods had the perfect start to the second half, going in front.

Crane skilfully controlled the ball from a long pass up the wing before crossing to Snelling.

Following a good first touch from the midfielder, his powerful strike took the slightest deflection and found its way in.

It wasn’t long before Melford had equalised from a set-piece.

Keeper Lee Pacey came charging out of his area to try and clear the ball from danger, but in doing so he clashed with the Melford forward.

Melford delivered a long ball which was headed across the six-yard box and Tom LePage finished well.

With 15 minutes remaining Walden had shouts for a penalty turned away after Calver’s shirt looked to have been pulled in the area.

Late on Avis came close to grabbing the win after Grindrod whipped in a free-kick but the ball missed his foot by inches at the far post.

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